No focus on generating jobs in Indian budget: industry experts

New Delhi: With the Union Budget increasing the government’s thrust in the agricultural and infrastructure sectors, The Hindu conducted a live chat with industry experts in an effort to understand the budget better. Joining over 16,000 readers and answering their questions were Dr. Suresh Surana, founder, RSM Astute Consulting Group, a tax, audit and consulting firm, Pankaj Mathpal, MD, Optima Money Managers.

“The working class may not feel very excited since there is no increase in basis exemption limit of Rs. 2.50 lakh,” said Dr. Surana. Although, as Mr. Mathpal noted, “Super rich surcharge has been increased to 15 per cent from the existing 12 per cent.”

Readers were concerned about the announcement on the National Pension Scheme and the move to tax only 40 per cent of withdrawals at the time of retirement.

A lot of the focus was also on the announcements to boost start-ups. “The ease of doing business is the focus of government. The increase in limit of businesses eligible for presumptive tax from Rs. 1 crore to Rs. 2 crore of annual turnover and bringing professionals with receipts up to Rs. 50 lakh are steps in this direction,” remarked Dr. Surana.

Mr. Mathpal felt it was overall a good budget, and “There is focus on creating jobs and supporting entrepreneurs.” Dr. Surana saw this budget as “a solid step towards fiscal consolidation, reducing litigation and generating employment. It is not a populist budget.”

Patna representative added

Modi has failed in exam, say Nitish and Lalu

Reacting to the Union Budget on Monday, Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar and his coalition partner, RJD chief Lalu Prasad, termed it a “disappointing budget”.

They also said Prime Minister Narendra Modi had failed in his “examination” as the “budget promises acchhe din (good days) only for the hoarders of black money and not for the common people”.

“It is a disappointing budget and the Prime Minister has failed in the examination…the budget promises acchhe din only for those who have hoarded black money”, said Mr. Kumar, talking to journalists in Patna.

Earlier on Sunday Mr. Modi had said in his monthly radio broadcast that he had an “exam on Monday” alluding to the upcoming budget.